Small applications missing in KDE 4

I have been working in the last weeks in the removal of the last pieces of KDE 3 from the Debian archive and I have found there are a lot of packages that is sad having to remove.

If you are looking for a good idea/excuse to learn and improve your KDE 4 / C++ /Qt4 skills, have to do a small application for school or you just feel like some useful coding, here is the list:

  • creox – real-time guitar effects
  • kbarcode – barcode and label printing application for KDE
  • kbiff – KDE mail notification utility
  • KKBSwitch – keyboard layout indicator for KDE (see this post also)
  • kmyfirewall – iptables based firewall configuration tool for KDE
  • kpogre – a graphical administrator tool for PostgreSQL
  • kredentials – KDE taskbar applet to update kerberos/AFS credentials
  • ksociograma – technical educational software to make sociograms
  • ktechlab – circuit simulator for microcontrollers and electronics
  • qalculate-kde – Powerful and easy to use desktop calculator – KDE version
  • score-reading-trainer – trainer for reading music notes

Note that I do not list here software whose port in KDE 4 is being developed although it is still not finished and therefore it is not packaged in Debian.

By the way, even if all those packages are being removed from Debian testing and unstable, they will remain in Squeeze, so you can keep using them or install it from there.

49 thoughts on “Small applications missing in KDE 4

  1. Vasu M

    Actually, I have been waiting a long time for klamav and at one point also used the kde3 version.

    Unlike its previous incarnation, it need not maintain its own database but use the one from freshclam. Instead, make on-access configuration possible if it detects presence of dazuko module.

  2. TheBlackCat

    Isn’t there a qalculate cantor backend at least started? Finishing that would probably be a better approach than writing an entirely new app from scratch.

    kbiff, KKBSwitch, and kredentials sound like they would be better as plasmoids rather than stand-alone apps.

    Why do we need kpogre when we have kexi?

    The features of score-reading-trainer might be generalized and integrated in kwordquiz without needing an entirely new application.

    Similarly, the features of kbarcode might be added to lemonpos rather than making another application.

  3. TheBlackCat

    @ Josh: what is the advantage of pwmanager over kwallet? And is there any reason the features couldn’t be integrated into kwallet?

  4. EuroElessar

    Ok, I’ll get a look at some of this apps, i.e. KKBSwitch and qalculate-kde, but should it be just port with absolutely identical interface and ideas (just replace Qt3/KDE3 by Qt4/KDE4 libraries) or may be I have to change something to fit better with kde4? with who am I able to discuss such questions?

    @Jason “moofang”: I can’t find qalculate plasmoid, where have you found it and what’s it’s name?

  5. Elv13

    We are working to port KTechLab to KDE4, but we have very limitted ressources. It’s still unusable, but help is welcome (#ktechlab on Freenode).

    It’s not a port, just like many other apps, its a rewrite.

  6. Rsh

    pwmanager allows saving your passwords into an arbitrary file and then easily move it between computers. pwmanager is not about integrating with other apps, but rather as a mean to store some password and have a mean to check it if you forget it sometime.

  7. Kevin Kofler

    > By the way, even if all those packages are being removed from Debian testing and unstable, they will remain in Squeeze, so you can keep using them or install it from there.

    Or you can use a distribution which keeps committing to keeping kdelibs3 available, such as Fedora. (I comaintain the package, and I have absolutely no plans to retire it any time soon.)

    (That said, not all of the KDE 3 apps listed above are currently packaged in Fedora. But if somebody wants to package the missing ones, the use of kdelibs3 will not be considered a review blocker.)

    I think it is sad to remove compatibility libraries which are clearly still useful to keep stuff running. We were probably the first ones to drop support for the KDE 3 workspace, but IMHO the libraries deserve a much longer life. I have found most packages with little to no upstream activity to require very little packaging effort, so I don’t understand what retiring them really achieves in practice. For kdelibs3 in particular, the Fedora dist-git history: http://pkgs.fedoraproject.org/gitweb/?p=kdelibs3.git;a=shortlog shows 3 commits during Fedora 14 development, of which only one is non-trivial (the others are a Release tag bump and a conversion from CVS to git), and 3 commits during Fedora 15 development, of which one is an automated mass rebuild. (Together, Fedora 14 and 15 development span the last 12 months.) Of the 3 nontrivial commits done during the last 12 months, 2 were small packaging fixes and one was a 3-line code fix for g++ having become more strict. That level of maintenance can be easily sustained for years, even by one person.

    Quoting Elv13:
    > It’s not a port, just like many other apps, its a rewrite.

    Why are you rewriting the code if you have limited resources? A quick port (run the porting scripts, fix what still fails to compile, use Qt3Support and kde3support to their full extent) should be doable in much less time.

  8. Jan Kundrát

    Those looking for a kkbswitch’s replacement should have a look at kxkb. On my Gentoo box, it looks like a part of the kde-base/systemsettings package, but in fact it’s a standalone application which integrates into the systray. I don’t see any mention of it in the systemsettings UI.

  9. Fri13

    I found two important application

    kbarcode and ktechlab

    And I must hope that kbarcode could be picked up a KOffice developers, as it would be very much needed application/feature when printing bills to customers or printing a labels to packages/letters so post office computers can read them more easily. And even better, upgrade it to support those 2D barcodes what can be used with smartphones. It would be awesome thing for bars, firms and small shops to print a flyers with discount for specific day evenings/happenings.

    The ktechlab would be needed very much at many IT schools / universities to teach first classes how circuits works and allow them to design them and then later print them and flash the print to circuits boards.

    Musicians can need some of those other apps but personally I dont find need for them (I know my friends could need/want).

  10. ana Post author

    @TheBlackCat:
    Making plasmoids will make those apps no useful for non-KDE users. IMHO, it would be a terrible idea.

    @Kevin Kofler:
    I am not sure I understand the point in your post and I have not idea about Fedora development so I am lost with your dates/number. Are you planning to maintain kde3libs forever in fedora?? In affirmative case, good for you, I personally lack of such interest.

    In case it helps, here it is a bit more clear the part about Debian:
    kdelibs from KDE3 and all apps using them, they will be maintained in Debian for at least *3 years more* in the latest Debian stable (squeeze), that is until Feb2014. For the next stable release of Debian (wheezy), that could be release perfectly in ~ 2 years, they won’t be shipped anymore, that is why I am trying to remove now them from Debian testing/unstable.

  11. John

    Note that KBarcode is more than just a barcode printer, it’s actually a label printer that does barcodes as well, so if anyone picks it up a rename would be good. Also see the new Prison barcode library in kdesupport which is being integrated into parts of KDE.

    It would be great to see people helping on the KTechLab port, it’s a project with great potential, once done it would be a great addition to kdeedu (or perhaps finally that kde-science module)

  12. TheBlackCat

    @ Rsh: “pwmanager allows saving your passwords into an arbitrary file and then easily move it between computers.”

    So does kwallet.

    “pwmanager is not about integrating with other apps, but rather as a mean to store some password and have a mean to check it if you forget it sometime.”

    You can do this in kwallet as well. Just manually create a password.

  13. FabriceV

    I extend the subject (pick ideas…)

    A lot of “small” to “medium” specialized gnome softwares are missing
    (eg gnotero, verbiste, y ppa manager, pdf mod (pdf tools in general), play it slowly, shutter, déjà dup, anomos, project hamster, playonlinx, vineyard…)

    Missing or underdeveloped topics and functions
    Scanning or vectorization in general (gscan2pdf, inkscape).
    Tutorial and screencast (eg salasaga, tibesti… but especially compare to windows or MacOS)
    Presentation and projector (ardesia, screenkey…)
    Sport application (chronojump, longowatch, sportstracker…)
    Secure CD Audio ripping (Audex and others have not yet implemented something similar to rubyripper (gtk) or exact audio copy (windows)

    Few important softwares whatever the OS stick in KDE 3.5 version (eg engauge digitizer, pdfedit).

    Few java softwares (with or without gkt) whitout Qt or KDE integration (eg home3D, analyseSI, audacity, hugin, ardesia, recourse, sikuli)

    More en more Qt4 that integrate poorly to the KDE desktop (help, toolbar, gui, icons…) and progressively desintegrate the desktop like a Gnome one : mendeley, UNetbootin, lyx, calibre, tucan, VLC, qtiPlot, gle…

    Few softwares that could be killer ones (and justify migration to kde) with late developpments (eg rkward, scribus, kexi, kbibtex) or stopped (css-miami)

    And a whole bunch of official KDE project softwares full of bugs or stopped or unable to reach a stable state for years.

    => it’s clear that the foundation have greatly improved (4.6) but currently the fact the Okular is better than evince (just one among others examples) do not convince me to switch, as long as so much kde applications are so much bugged and so much gtk and java applications are necessary. I want, but I can’t…

  14. TheBlackCat

    @ ana: If there are already gnome equivalents to those applications (like I know there is for kredentials at least), then having it not work in gnome is not a big disadvantage, especially not if it makes the rewrite quicker and easier and makes the application integrate much better with KDE.

  15. ana Post author

    @TheBlackCat
    I was not talking about gnome users, I was talking about people not using KDE…

  16. TheBlackCat

    @ FabriceV: Have you submitted feature requests at bugs.kde.org for the features you think are missing from KDE versions of applications? For instance KDE already has scanning (skanlite and kooka), vector drawing (karbon14), cd ripping (kio), and presentation (calligra stages).

    Have you submitted bug reports about the integration problems with Qt4 apps? I know that there is a lot of work in KDE fixing problems with integration with VLC right now.

  17. Bjoern

    I looked at kbiff because I thought it could be a nice project to get into KDE4 hacking. But it seems like the project is alive and that Kurt is already working on a KDE4 port: http://hg.kbiff.org/

  18. jospoortvliet

    @ana: plasmoids can be run as stand-alone apps without any problems so for non-Plasma-desktop users there should be no issue. Non-KDE users (not sure what that refers to) probably wouldn’t want to use ANY KDE application, hence it doesn’t matter if KDE has developed these apps or not :D

  19. ana Post author

    @jospoortvliet:
    I have never seen somebody running a plasmoid as stand-alone apps (heck, I personally have not idea how to do that).
    I know plenty of people not using KDE desktop itself (that is what I call non-KDE users) and using all kind of KDE apps (kdegames, juk, kalarm, etc). Most of the users will use the application that suits them best and they do not care whether it is Qt, GTK or in a browser.

  20. Rainer

    I support a tool like gscan2pdf is missing. While it is not an issue for most advanced users reading here, it becomes an issue, if a not so skilled user has to deal with a gnome/gtk file selection box, print dialog, etc.

    Thanks,
    Rainer

  21. Elv13

    @The User:
    It’s still in sourceforge, did not moved from there in years. Yes, it do use KDevPlatform, but I am not so sure it’s a good thing, it gave me more trouble than the benefits (until now). Its also slowly moving to qt only code to improve portability across OS and spiting the GUI from the logic. The only problem is that it is totally useless for now, with only basic circuits loading at all (no gui, just the circuit).

  22. twitter

    There seems to be something called “plasmoidviewer” that runs plasmoids under gnome and perhaps other desktops like E16. I’ll try it tomorrow.

    The biggest thing I miss is the kicker. Hopefully the plasmoid viewer will fix things.

    Thanks for the write up, the move from KDE 3.5 to KDE 4.3 has been rough.

  23. Kurt Granroth

    Here’s a coincidence for you — as you were writing about KBiff needing to be ported to KDE4, I was releasing KBiff 4.0, the KDE4 port. It’s the first KBiff release in over two years. Fun stuff.

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  25. Henrique Marks

    As the Fedora Guy said, it is difficult to understand why you want to drop support of a library that so many softwares use, and that gives almost zero overhead of packaging and mantaining, the library and the software that rely on them.

    It is not like project Trinity, that keeps all KDE 3 apps (i dont understand why), it is just kdelibs3, qt3, and some software.

    Do you need any help ? I am willing to take part of this, drop an email to me if you want.

  26. ana Post author

    @Henrique Marks:
    Nobody in the Qt/KDE team of Debian wants to maintain it for the next release which means maintaining it about 5 years more, so it goes out. For me kde3libs is not relevant anymore and the zero overhead of packaging and maintaining is a misinformed claim or a very bad consideration of the work of others.
    Are you interested in maintaining KDE3 in Debian? Can you commit to maintain it actively in the next 5 years? Be my guest.

  27. Artem S. Tashkinov

    You have forgotten about KSensors, KDE4 still has nothing alike.

    Temperature plasmoid only shows temperatures, you cannot keep an eye on RPMs and voltages.

    Yes, I know about gkrellm, but it’s far from what I what – no systray icons for interesting sensors, no interface similar to MBM.

  28. Kevin Kofler

    > I am not sure I understand the point in your post

    The point I’m trying to make is that I don’t quite understand your decision to drop the KDE 3 kdelibs from Debian now, and even less the distributions which were even more in a hurry to get rid of it and have already removed it, because I don’t understand the benefits from dropping it. Dropping the KDE 3 kdelibs breaks some nice apps which unfortunately have still not been ported, e.g. the ones you’re listing, and the effort to keep it available looks minimal to me (and as the comaintainer of kdelibs3 in Fedora, I think I can speak from experience).

    > Are you planning to maintain kde3libs forever in fedora??

    “Forever” is a strong word, but for the near future, there are indeed no plans to drop it.

    That said, the support timeframe for a Fedora release is only about 13 months, not 3+ years, so admittedly we don’t have to plan as far into the future as you.

    FWIW, Red Hat is supporting kdelibs3 in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, which is scheduled to be supported until November 30, 2017. But I don’t work for Red Hat, so I can’t comment on the maintenance costs of RHEL, nor on the plans for RHEL 7. I’m only bringing it up as a point of comparison because it is a distribution with a long support cycle unlike Fedora.

    > and the zero overhead of packaging and maintaining is a misinformed claim or a very bad consideration of the work of others

    I’m not trying to belittle your work at all. I am just genuinely surprised by reading you consider kde3libs to have a significant packaging cost, because I personally experience it as barely noticeable. (I could easily pick up the Fedora kdelibs3 alone if our other KDE maintainers were to give up on it.)

  29. albert

    the qalculate plasmoid is far from the standalone application qalculate-kde3. If you do not know exactly ALL the qalculate possibility you can do nothing interesting. The only way is to use the qalculate-gtk.

  30. frank

    KRegExpEditor++
    There is a package in portage, but it’s only in the experimental branch and masked.

    I am still eagerly waiting for the Kiosk port. Quite a while ago I read on planet KDE that someone was working on it, he even showed promising screenshots. But so far I have not heard anything new.

    OTOH with Karbon there is already an SVG editor, so I don’t think there should be an extra KDE app for SVG editing. Besides, with Inkscape we have a de-facto standard application, and despite its slowliness and GTK base I use Inkscape regularly (also because its user interface is much more efficient than Karbon’s).

    In KDE3 times there was also a Qt-based version of aconnect to connect MIDI ins and outs.

  31. Alejandro Nova

    I’m surprised to not see KRecord in this list. I always installed the GNOME sound recorder in my KDE 4 desktop, and, although there is KWave, there is no simple, one click sound recorder like KRecord.

  32. ana Post author

    @Alejandro Nova:
    There is not surprise, KRecord has never been in Debian!

    @frank:
    Experimental and masked? You are talking about gentoo? archlinux?

  33. Kasper Laudrup

    Hi all,

    I have begun making a port of Creox (real-time guitar effects) for KDE 4.

    So far, it compiles and actually runs although a lot of stuff is still missing. I have put the code on Github:

    https://github.com/laudrup/Creox4

    I hope someone might find this useful, that will probably have great influence on whether I’ll continue to work on this.

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